Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_525


Learning is a human phenomenon where performance improves with experience. There are a number of reasons for task improvement. As tasks are repeated, elements of the task are: better remembered, cues are more clearly detected, skills are sharpened, eye-hand coordinations are more tightly coupled, transitions between successive tasks are smoothed, and relationships between task elements are discovered. Barnes and Amrine (1942), Knowles and Bell (1950), Hancock and Foulke (1966), Snoddy (1926), and Wickens (1992) have described these and other sources of human performance change. All these causes of individual person improvement manifest themselves in faster performance times, fewer errors, less effort, and there is often a better disposition of the person as a result.

Learning is implied by performance changes due primarily to experience. Changes in the methods of performing a task, replacing human activities with machines, imparting information about the job, training,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. [1]
    Barnes, R. and Amrine, H. (1942). “The Effect of Practice on Various Elements Used in Screw-Driver Work,” Jl. Applied Psychology, 197–209. Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Bevis, F.W., Finnicat, C., and Towill, D.R. (1970). “Prediction of Operator Performance During Learning of Repetitive Tasks,” International Jl. Production Research, 8, 293–305.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Buck, J.R., Tanchoco, J.M.A., and Sweet, A.L. (1976). “Parameter Estimation Methods for Discrete Exponential Learning Curves,” AIIE Transactions, 8, 184–194.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Buck, J.R. and Cheng, S.W.J. (1993). “Instructions and Feedback Effects on Speed and Accuracy with Different Learning Curve Functions,” IIE Transactions, 25(6), 34–47.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Fitts, P.M. (1966). “Cognitive Aspects of Information Processing III: Set for Speed Versus Accuracy,” Jl. Experimental Psychology, 71, 849–857.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Goldberg, S. (1961). Introduction to Difference Equations, John Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Hancock, W.M. and Foulke, J.A. (1966). “Computation of Learning Curves,” MTM Journal, XL(3), 5–7.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Hax, A.C. and Majluf, N.S. (1982). “Competitive Cost Dynamics: The Experience Curve,” Interfaces, 12(5), 50–61.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Hutchings, B. and Towill, D.R. (1975). “An Error Analysis of the Time Constraint Learning Curve Model,” International Jl. Production Research, 13, 105–135.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    Knowles, A. and Bell, L. (1950). “Learning Curves Will Tell You Who's Worth Training and Who Isn't,” Factory Management, June, 114–115. Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Konz, S. (1990). Work Design and Industrial Ergonomics, 3rd ed., John Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Pegels, C.C. (1969). “On Startup of Learning Curves: An Expanded View,” AIIE Transactions, 1, 216–222.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Pew, R.W. (1969). “The Speed-Accuracy Operating Characteristic,” Acta Psychologia, 30, 16–26.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    Snoddy, G.S. (1926). “Learning and Stability,” Jl. Applied Psychology, 10, 1–36.Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Wickens, C.D. (1992). Engineering Psychology and Human Performance, 2nd ed., Harper Collins, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA